The Guild League

The Guild League

The Guild League

Speak Up

Matinee

Tali White, the lead singer for Australia’s The Guild League, is also one of the main songwriters for the ever-awesome Lucksmiths. While that band might be the best indie pop outfit around these days, his touch with The Guild League isn’t quite so golden.

There’s a lot of youthful exuberance going on and more direct political and social commentary on Speak Up than is to be found on any given Lucksmiths’ disc. This in and of itself is far from a bad thing, but the pop-ska “Mouse Vs. Mountain” and “Where’s the Colour?” aren’t doing anything that third wave ska — or Ted Leo for that matter — haven’t rung out many times already. On the former, a party beat pushes the positive lyrics like “Our day will come/ that’s one thing you can count on” but it ultimately feels more like a platitude for disenfranchised teenagers than something that cuts deep.

Fortunately, White and company have a number of heavier tracks in their songbook like the dark, slow and elegant “Dead Hour,” “Limited Express” and “Incandescent.” All of these songs are decidedly more stripped-down than the rave-up numbers and are more affecting for it. These songs are more akin of the sound of White’s full-time group and better reflect a songwriter who is more than a few years beyond adolescence angst.

Matinee Recordings: www.indiepages.com/matinee

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